Each day as Kelly leaves for radiation therapy, Champ moves to the window and watches her leave. He then stays for 2-3 hours simply waiting for her return. He doesn’t nap or react as he watches each car pass, each squirrel scamper or each leaf blow. No amount of cajoling makes him leave his post for more than a few minutes. Champ isn’t the only one waiting. This week, time seems to be crawling by as we await the end of Kelly’s treatments. With 3 days to go, the waiting feels a bit more intense and a bit more exciting.
Kelly seems to be more focused on making it through each day. While not as extreme as chemo, the weeks get harder and this one started with some challenges. Nausea, internal pain at the radiation sites and fatigue are the main culprits. Throat and esophagus pain impedes eating and drinking, but she uses a liquid pain medicine to help get fluids and soft foods down. On Sunday, she hit a decent size speed bump that landed her in the hospital for a night. She was discharged Monday just in time to make it to proton therapy in the afternoon. Needless to say, she was exhausted.
Waiting has become a new way of life for all of us. Seems like Kelly is always waiting for a pain to pass, a medicine to take effect, a treatment to finish up or a test result to return. And we wait with her. However, we have learned to be more patient and know that life isn’t to be rushed. We are appreciative of the doctors, nurses and techs that make certain everything is precise. While it can be especially hard for Kelly, knowing the end is in sight makes enduring 3 more days seem doable. No need to ask Kelly if she will celebrate on Friday. We know her answer will be: “I’ll celebrate when I feel better.”
So what’s next after Friday? Good question! The doctors prefer to dole out information in bite-sized portions, and frankly there is enough information to absorb in each phase, we tend not to ask. She sees her oncologist next week and we will learn the next step. We know a PET scan is in her future, but do not know when. Cancer cells can keep dying weeks and months after radiation ends, so it may be awhile.
Meanwhile, we will just wait.
Lydia and Steve